New Transit Import Rules

Discussion in 'General Discussion / News / Information' started by DavidFL, Jun 29, 2016.

  1. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    There's been a lot of publicity lately about a clamp down on foreign vehicles coming into the country.

    Driving in Thailand: Foreign tourists face strict controls

    it is generally agreed this is aimed at the masses of Chinese cars pouring in over the border at holiday & festival times

    On the Thai customs website there are 3 links to look at

    Thailand Transport Application

    It is still not 100% clear if this applies to motorcycles,, but my border contact today said that the situation for motorbikes is unchanged.
    The new rules are only being applied to cars at the moment.

    Sooner or later the dust will clear & we will know the score.
    BTW most of these cross border transport agreements have excluded motorbikes, with a separate "policy decision" being made later on how to handle the motorbikes; and then it often varies from border port to port.
    Oddvar likes this.
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  3. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    UPDATE 30th June 2016
    Motorcycles ARE included in the new rules.
    Confusion seems to be in control between the relevant govt departments on how to deal with the motorbikes.
    Customs are being told to follow the Land Transport rules.

    Sorry for any riders stuck outside on the border at the moment.
    Also sorry for any guys stuck inside trying to get an extension.

    More as the drama unfolds.
  4. Vic Alborn

    Vic Alborn Ol'Timer

    Hello David,
    I am still about and riding both Asia and New Zealand (now 75YO, 555).
    I went to Customs House on Wednesday at 08:30 to seek a temporary import extension for the FZ150 (Malaysian Registered). I was politely told about the new rules that came into effect on MONDAY!!!! and the office staff were good enough to approach their boss but the answer was NO extensions. This means I have to depart before Tuesday. I was also told that I could only exit through the point of entry (Sadao) and that exit and re-entrry through Laos or Cambodia is not permitted. This is a Land Transport Rule, not Customs, so I and my Thai friends agree with you that it is aimed at the Chinese tourists and the apparent high accident rate. Too bad about the unintended consequences for safe, experienced tourists and too bad about my "short-changed" single entry tourist visa being reduced to one month.
  5. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    From what I can gather browsing the links supplied

    Vehicles that can come in “freely” are those with a Cross border transport agreement with Thailand
    These countries are

    If you are not one of these then you need a pre-approved entry (just like entering China, Vietnam, Myanmar).

    This needs to be done at least 10 days in advance via an approved registered Thai tour company.

    Documents required
    Passport valid for 6 months
    Medical certificate
    Drivers licence recognized in Thailand. If not then you need to apply for a local driving licence.
    Vehicle Inspection Certificate
    Thai motor Vehicle insurance covering 1,000,000 baht in damages
    Approved itinerary with details of accommodation & route.
    Entry & departure must be from the same port (or province maybe?)
    Import is valid for a maximum of 30 days, with no extensions & a maximum of 60 days in a calendar year.

    How all this pans out in the coming months we will have to wait & see
    It is disturbing that innocent motorbikes have been caught up in this hard, but justified, clamp down on the thousands of Chinese vehicles that were pouring in.
  6. Jimenator

    Jimenator Member

    Hi Vic and David, new to the forum here.

    Have been following this story for a while, so just wanted to receive some clarification. Vic, you mentioned your bike is Malaysian registered? If so, I thought you would still be allowed to travel around the country and exit at any crossing. Perhaps the customs agent you spoke to thought the new rules apply to all foreign registered vehicles?

    My understanding is the new rules were proposed by the Land Transport Department but customs enforces them. However, I'm concerned if the entry/exit rules limit Malaysian/Singaporean/Lao vehicles to the crossing they entered, this could backfire badly for Thai vehicles heading to these countries; I'm one of them.

    Hopefully someone can clarify this for me.

  7. Vic Alborn

    Vic Alborn Ol'Timer

    Hello Jim.
    Sorry I have not replied sooner.
    I suspect the Customs House staff in Phuket either were not aware that the Land Transport edict did not apply to Malaysian/Singaporean/Llaotian vehicles or they did not properly review my Temporary Import document (which clearly states my bike is Malaysian registered and I have a Malaysian address.
    I have since been to the Thai Consulate here in Penang and the Officer there was sympathetic to my case and agreed that I can re-aply for a new Visa. He was unable to explicitly state that the LTD rule prohibited an extension in my case it being an LTD/Customs matter.
    I plan to attempt a border crossing without a Visa (15 days permitted on a New Zealand passport) and see what happens. This should allow me to enter Thailand with my bike without risking a refusal using up another 2 month Visa with attendant trouble and MYR150 cost. If successful I will return to Malaysia and re-apply for the Visa.
    I will let you know what happens.
    Interesting times.
  8. Jimenator

    Jimenator Member

    OK, good to hear from you.

    Look forward to your next update.

  9. Vic Alborn

    Vic Alborn Ol'Timer

    LONG ANSWER: I crossed the border today at Wang Kilian, Perlis (NW corner and leads out close to Satun - but you may know that already).
    Immigration gave me 15 days without a Visa and no questions (even got a smile).
    Went to customs and the young lady called up my bike on the computer and gave me a Simplified Temporary Import valid for 28 days!!! (No questions)
    She did say "come back # 12", which I translated as come back on the 12th. August. Even then I think she meant don't come back on the 12th as it is the Queen's Birthday and that particular office may be closed. Academic anyway as I will be exiting before my visa expires on 1st. August.
    Seems the Phuket Office were not up to speed with the newly introduced LTD rules, or they did not notice the bike was Malaysian registered.
    SHORT ANSWER: There was no problem importing a Malaysian Registered bike ridden by the owner, said owner being a New Zealand resident of caucasian descent (not Malaysian).
    Jimenator likes this.
  10. Jimenator

    Jimenator Member

    Thanks for that update, Vic.

    That's what I thought. I have read reports and seen a number of Malaysian motorcyclists/cars in Thailand this month, all since the new rules have gone into effect and they had no problems entering under the same terms as always. I think the Phuket office was as you say mistaken or didn't notice you were riding a Malaysian registered motorbike. Good to know everything went well for you.

  11. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Maybe this is back firing obviously was not very well thought out & a knee jerk reaction, causing a lot of unnecessary grief = a terrible shambles.

    Driving-in tourist numbers plummet after ban

    Driving-in tourist numbers plummet after ban

    The number of vehicles from China to Chiang Mai province has plummeted by 98% to 10 from 600 daily following a ban on inbound motorists from driving deeper into the kingdom.
    Pornchai Jitnavasathian, chairman of the Tourism Council of Chiang Mai, said on Monday that the much lighter inbound traffic obviously resulted from the Land Transport Department's ban on visiting motorists from driving beyond the province of entry. The measure took effect on June 27.
    The measure affected the number of driving Chinese tourists who normally arrived in caravans through the R3A route from southern China via Laos and Chiang Rai's Chiang Khong district to Chiang Mai and had high purchasing power, he said.
    Before the ban, most of these visitors went to Chiang Mai and other destinations deeper in the country including Bangkok, Mr Pornchai said.
    Previously, each visiting vehicle from southern China carried three or more tourists who spent at least 5,000 baht each per day, Mr Pornchai said. He estimated that the declining arrivals cost Chiang Mai 1 million a day in tourism income.
    Boontha Chailert, president of the Chiang Mai Tourism Business Association, said unless the ban was reviewed, 3,000-5,000 workers in the tourism sector in the northern province would lose their jobs in three months.
    Tourism authorities in Chiang Mai would call for a review of the ban and oppose other future conditions that would add inconveniences to visiting motorists, Mr Boontha said. He cited possible requirements for them to seek entry permission at least 30 days in advance and exit the country through the same border pass.
    The Land Transport Department imposed the rule after an influx of visiting motorists resulted in a spike in traffic accidents and waste management problems. Besides, the merits of this group of tourists were questioned since many of them did not stay at hotels.​

    Let's hope there is a realistic "Thai solution" soon.
  12. Jimenator

    Jimenator Member

    I'm wondering if they were meant to say 10 per month, rather than 10 per day. If there were still 10 Chinese cars arriving per day, that would still be more than in 2013, when a total of 1700 came in the entire year according to Thai customs statistics.

    I don't think the fallout from this law is like as claimed in the article considering that only 43000 Chinese tourists arrived in a total of 9248 vehicles (including motorcycles) last year, which is 0.5% of the total of all Chinese visitor arrivals (7.9 million), according to Thai customs and TAT statistics, respectively. Therefore, the loss of overland tourists is statistically insignificant. The same occurred when other countries like China and Vietnam imposed their rules. 6-7 years ago, Lao registrations at least were allowed to travel around China independently, by requesting permission at each provincial boundary. Since then, they have been restricted to Jinghong, this according to my good friend in Laos who runs a car rental agency.

    I heard there may be an amendment to this law announced this month. So far there is no indication as to what aspects of the law may be amended, but some of the additional requirements visiting motorists have been faced with include 1) having to obtain a notarized document/statutory declaration (for Aussies) from your embassy if you are riding a motorcycle or intending to drive a car outside the border province entered; 2) no motorhomes/campervans even under the "exceptional case" category and 3) Thai insurance companies don't offer 1 million Baht insurance policies yet. Tour operators would like to see the rules simplified by allowing tourist vehicles to be driven across multiple provinces/allowing exit at other borders without requiring a "special case" application.

    The rules were brought in to rightfully clamp down on the large numbers of Chinese motorists freely entering Thailand, especially during holiday periods, causing accidents and increased congestion as you say. I'd suggest if the department and concerned agencies can solve the 3 problems I have mentioned and simplify the rules to allow tourist vehicles to be driven to other provinces then any impacts so far can be minimized in the future.

    Last edited: Aug 3, 2016
    brian_bkk likes this.
  13. sgBikerBoy


    FWIW, when I crossed the Poipet-Klunglok border and into Thailand on 30Jul16 on a Singapore-registered motorcycle, the immigration officer did ask me where I was from. And when I mentioned Singapore, he nodded and said something along the lines of, "Singapore, Malaysia, Laos, okay."

    So if anyone's coming in from Poipet, Cambodia via Aranyaprathet / Klunglok, these guys seem to know their stuff.
  14. ntb

    ntb Ol'Timer

    This is sooo frustrating. I have been bringing my bike into Thailand for 3 months at a time for 8 years now. Me and my bike are on the immigration/customs computer. Was so easy and fast to enter Thailand on my Cambodia registered bike. Now I can only enter for 1 month and have to stay in the province of entry? For those in the know,please keep this forum updated with new info on this subject.
    My free riding heart is broken about these new silly rules.
  15. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Sorry for you.
    Eventually it will be sorted out I'm sure.
  16. Bibi

    Bibi New Member

    hey guys,

    Does anybody have any new regarding this subject? We are planing our bike trip next year!


  17. Vic Alborn

    Vic Alborn Ol'Timer

    Hello Bibi.
    If your bike is NOT registered in Laos, Malaysia or Singapore I have no further information.
    If your bike is from one of those countries: -
    I re-entered Thailand from Malaysia through Sadao on August 3 with a 28 day permit & no problems (Malaysian registered bike).
    Attempted an extension in Nakhon Phanom on August 28 BUT WAS TURNED DOWN unless I had a problem with the bike.
    Exited through Nong Kai into Laos (Again losing the balance of my two-month Visa in the process!)
    Returned through Nong Kai September 7. The bike got 28 days and I was granted 15.
    It may be that other Customs Offices will issue an extension but I haven't found one yet.
    Cheers (and good luck because that seems to be what you need!)
  18. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    The sticking point in all of this is that the Thai tour agent who organizes & approves your trip loses their licence if you break the conditions
    - staying in the province
    - exiting from the same designated port
    - detouring from the designated route
    Supposedly the Tourist Police, the Customs & the Land Transport department monitor your journey.
    In a nutshell it has effectively killed the masses of Chinese vehicles flooding in across the border at Chiang Khong, but in the meantime made it extremely difficult for everyone else.
    The Customs at Chiang Khong also say that your trip must be approved 10 days in advance.

    Good luck any foreign riders from outside the permissible countries trying to get in.
  19. ntb

    ntb Ol'Timer

    Ok I'm not sure if this is going to be a dumb question but here goes. If I have someone from Thailand buy my Cambodian registered bike will it cost a lot of money to bring the bike into Thailand and have it registered there by the buyer? And yes the idea would be to buy the bike back and keep it in Thailand. I have a lot of blood, sweat and tears invested in this bike and want to keep it but Cambodia just doesn't seem to be big enough for it anymore and riding in Thailand is so much more enjoyable.
  20. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Check this one
    Shipping Costs And Options For Us To Bkk (actually Going To Do This)

    You could ask M1Tanker as has completed the process properly - importing a bike - & knows the costs involved.

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